*originally posted in Feb 2014*
This rant / ramble is very dear to me, so please read carefully!
Everyone knows that I like a good stereotype; they are fun, they make for good jokes, and they give you a sense of condescension to feed your ego. I usually don’t mind being myself caught in such things…
That being said, a few recent incidents makes me admit that one particular stereotype about Quebecers bothers more than the rest. Well, maybe it’s not such a stereotype but rather a huge misunderstanding. I know, those with good memory will remember that I talked about this in the early pages of my journal, but I feel the need to once again debunk it.
The whole deal started for me back in the early 2000s when on a trucking run in Michigan. I arrived at the customer and got greeted with the phrase “Hey, the Frenchy truck is here!“. Later on, another customer (in Ontario to boot) asked me to put the deliveries in the right order with the phrase “All those Québec cities confuse me. I know they are in France but I have no idea how to load them.” Then and there, I was so tired of it that I’ve since then made it a mission to make people understand how wrong they are in making such statements!
OK, I seriously believe that the deal with the whole “French Canadian” thing is that the term itself is almost always misinterpreted as Quebecers being Frenchmen (people from France) living in Canada. On English-speaking TV, be it Canadian or American, they always portrait us as such; French (France) accent, French attire (berets, etc), French values (wine drinking, rude attitude, etc.) All of that is so untrue that it sickens me… I’ve tried multiple times to explain this to people outside Québec without much luck. They think I’m joking or some shit, I dunno. Then it came to me that I should explain by use of comparisons!
Let’s go back in time to the late 1500s. The French started to colonize what is now the Québec region of Canada. The British (or English) started to colonize other parts of Canada and the US. Same goes for the Spanish with Mexico & Central America. We all know how history unfolded so fast forward 500 years to the present day. Even though most Americans have English ancestry, how many still consider themselves to be British? None, right? Your people have evolved into your own culture, separate from the British, and that gave you different values plus changes in the spoken language. The same thing applies to today’s Canadians and to the people of the Hispanic countries. How are Quebecers any different? Almost all of us have French ancestry dating back hundreds of years BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE STILL FRENCH! We don’t speak the same as them, we don’t dress the same, we don’t have the same values, and we don’t hold allegiance to France no way no how. We’re simply French-speaking Canadians. In fact, a French tourist would stand out like a sore thumb in Québec, much like a British would in the US. Then why in 2014 are we still portrayed as Frenchmen?
It’s not hard to understand, right? You might be surprised to learn that I wasn’t able to make some rednecks get it. When on the final part where I say:
– “So in the end, it’s not because we speak French that we are automatically French from France. It’s only a misinterpretation of the term “French Canadian”. It would be like saying that you’re English (British) because you speak English!”
Can any of you guys guess the reply I get the most? Imma give you a few seconds here… ….. …… …….
– “I’m ‘Murican, I don’t speak English, I speak ‘Murican!”
– “OK, then we don’t speak French, we speak Québecois because we’re Quebecers!”
Then they all look confused and give me a weird stare…
P.S. Oh and BTW, it’s not because Quebecers show a little bit of pride that we’re automatically separatists… You got it, fellow Canadians?